An 18-year-old athlete who was set to make his Olympics debut in Paris in July has died in a tragic diving accident.

J.J. Rice, a U.S.-born kitefoiler, was set to represent Tonga at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

His father, Darren Rice, confirmed the tragedy to the Matangi Tonga newspaper, per Entertainment Tonight.

According to reports, he died on Saturday (June 15) at Faleloa, on the island of Ha'apai in the Tonga archipelago.

The young athlete passed away after suffering a suspected shallow water blackout while free diving from a boat.

He had recently competed in the 2024 Formula Kite World Championships in France.

READ MORE: YouTuber Ben Potter, a.k.a. Comicstorian, Dead at 40

Rice's sister, Lily, paid tribute to her brother in a Facebook post, as reported by ET.

"I was blessed with the most amazing brother in the whole world and it pains me to say that he's passed away. He was an amazing kitefoiler and he would have made it to the Olympics and come out with a big shiny medal," Lily shared.

He made so many amazing friends all over the world," she added.

Rice became eligible for the Olympics after placing eighth at the Sail Sydney event in Dec. 2023.

"Was an awesome event battling it out with the best, I felt it was personally one of my best competitions with the least amount of mistakes. I also made it into the semi finals which was a huge goal for me being the first I've made it into, overall it was super fun and I can't wait till my next competition where hopefully I am even faster," he wrote on Instagram at the time.

Kitefoiling, a type of kiteboarding, is debuting as an Olympic sport for the very first time this year.

Despite being born in the U.S. to British parents, Rice considered himself Tongan after growing up there while his parents ran a tourist lodge.

"I've lived in Tonga my whole life, I see myself as a Tongan. I don't see myself as anything else," he told Matangi Tonga.

Celebrities Who Died in 2024

RIP to these stars who passed away in 2024.

Gallery Credit: Jacklyn Krol

More From Newstalk 1290